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Using CTAs (Calls to Action): A Complete Guide

A graphic with the title of the post (Using CTAs/Calls to Action: A Complete Guide), with a photo of a woman, seen from the shoulders down, holding a bundle of burgundy yarn skeins.

There's this really interesting thing about humans when it comes to shopping: We want to be told exactly what to do.

Those of you with rebellious spirits, or teenagers, may guffaw at this. 


Most of the reason we want to be told what to do is just due to overwhelm. No matter if we are in a physical store or online, the amount of information being thrown at us is astronomical. And our brains struggle to process all of it.


Part of our job, as business owners and marketers, is to make the buying process as easy as possible by making it crystal clear. 


And the best way to start being crystal clear is to include a solid call to action.


What is a call to action?


A call to action (also known as a CTA) is a direct command or prompt to keep the prospective buyer moving along your “customer journey”.


Think things like:

  • Add to cart

  • Buy now

  • Click here


Where should you put a call to action?


Everywhere. No, really. Everywhere


This may seem like Marketing 101, but let me tell you that this is something most business owners don't do. You can be different.

You should include them in every piece of content you make - blog posts, social media videos, newsletters, etc. I even advocate having a call to action as one of the lines in your Instagram bio.


Buttons are great for CTAs because you can draw the eye with color and imagery. If you really need a call to action to stick out on a certain page on your website, then housing it inside of a button is ideal.



What to avoid when writing calls to action?


DO NOT BE VAGUE. Tell people EXACTLY what to do.

For instance, I would not recommend having “you can take a look at my shop” as an in-line link in your email, unless you ALSO include a button at the bottom that says “Buy Now” (going to the same place, obviously).

We are heart-led in this industry, which means we don't want to seem too bossy or pressuring. But these are adults, my friends, and they can make their own choices. You do, however, have to be DIRECT because anything less will be skipped over. 


It's really psychology more than it is anything else. 



Can you be a little creative?


Yes, please!


Some studies have found that personalizing CTAs to align more with the end result is more effective. 

Rather than “Buy Now”, choosing something like “Build your yarn stash here” could be powerful. But TEST it because, in the wrong place, it might seem unclear and vague.

You could use things like:

  • I'm ready to buy (written in the first-person)

  • Pick me (would be cute as a button leading to a product page)

  • Knit the perfect sweater

  • Join the movement



Make sure to TEST your calls to action.


Some platforms allow you to actually keep track of specific buttons on your website and how often they are interacted with.

But as much as you can, test out different wording for your CTAs. If you're getting decent clicks, you'll know you've hit a sweet spot with your language. 

Testing is so important overall in our marketing. It's so easy to just “set and forget” a lot of things that we put into place, but there's so much valuable information that comes from really paying attention to how others interact with your content. 



Four steps to creating calls to action:

  1. Go take a look at all of your social media profiles. Does your bio/about information include a CTA? Or does it include an outdated one? Make any changes you need to!

  2. On your next email, include three links or buttons that all lead to the same place. Try a different CTA with each one. See which gets clicked the most. 

  3. When showcasing a product on Instagram Stories or YouTube, make sure there's always a link easily accessible for people to buy.  

  4. Comb through your website and check all of your buttons. Is there one “above the fold” for someone to click on right away? Are all buttons on your homepage clear? Do you have a CTA included on your About Me page?

Incorporating specific CTAs makes it easier for your customer to purchase from you. Reviewing the wording and location of your calls to action will make sure that your marketing efforts are as optimized as possible for making sales.


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